Sparkenhoe Blue is an exciting new cheese from the producers of Sparkenhoe Red Leicester. Having grown up around his parents cheesemaking, second generation cheesemaker Will Clarke has been developing Sparkenhoe Blue since late 2017.
Our work with this cheese
We have been working with the Clarke family for about 12 years and have developed a great relationship with them. Their blue cheese venture was motivated by a few factors. Firstly, they wanted to channel more of their milk production into cheese. Cheese has a better margin than milk, so it is wise to convert as much of their liquid milk as possible to cheese. Secondly, David and Jo’s son Will was ready to take a more active role in the business. Creating a new cheese gave him a new challenge and an avenue through which to explore his own cheesemaking skill. Stilton-recipe cheese is traditional to their area. In deciding to make a blue cheese, it made sense to them to take inspiration from this much-loved territorial cheese.
Diversifying in this way has been a big step for the Clarkes and we are committed to supporting them as the cheese develops. They built a separate dairy and maturing rooms to house their Sparkenhoe Blue. They are experimenting with annatto- the natural food colouring that makes their Sparkenhoe Red Leicester orange, to make Sparkenhoe Shropshire Blue. Look out for it as it makes occasional appearances on our wholesale list and in our London shops.
We continue to work closely with Will, discussing feedback from our customers regarding flavour and texture. On our monthly farm visits we taste through all the batches together to select our cheeses. This feedback loop helps both of us to understand the cheese throughout the make and maturation process. It allows both cheesemaker and maturer to deepen their understanding of the cheese and continuously improve the approach.